Telomere length analysis in monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis and chronic lymphocytic leukemia Binet A

Monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis (MBL) is an asymptomatic clinical entity characterized by the proliferation of monoclonal B cells not meeting the diagnosis criteria for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). MBL may precede the development of CLL, but the molecular mechanisms responsible for disease progression and evolution are not completely known. Telomeres are usually short in CLL and their attrition may contribute to disease evolution. Here, we determined the telomere lengths of CD5+CD19+ cells in MBL, CLL, and healthy volunteers. Twenty-one CLL patients, 11 subjects with high-count MBL, and 6 with low-count MBL were enrolled. Two hundred and sixty-one healthy volunteers aged 0 to 88 years were studied as controls. After diagnosis confirmation, a flow cytometry CD19+CD5+-based cell sorting was performed for the study groups. Telomere length was determined by qPCR. Telomere length was similar in the 3 study groups but shorter in these groups compared to normal age-matched subjects that had been enrolled in a previous study from our group. These findings suggest that telomere shortening is an early event in CLL leukemogenesis.